Built in 1876, an arched, stone tunnel was built under the Grand Trunk railroad tracks in Niagara Falls. So how did something built as a drainage passage become known as the "Screaming Tunnel" or the "Blue Ghost Tunnel"?
Aside for being used as drainage it allowed local farmers a convenient path to avoid the oncoming trains overhead. Made from 125 feet of limestone bricks, the tunnel took on a haunted air early in its existence as moss and algae took hold of the porous stones. Given its eerie look it is no wonder the simple tunnel became home to its own legend.
According to one version of the story, a local farm near the tunnel caught fire one night and a young girl ran screaming from the blaze, hair and clothes alight. Before she could find help, the girl collapsed right in the middle of the tunnel, perishing from her burns. Assumedly this was not quite grisly enough for increasingly modern audiences, so another version of the story has also appeared in which the young girl is burnt to death in the tunnel by her father, mad with rage. Still another, even more disturbing version says that the girl was raped and her body burned to destroy the evidence. Undoubtedly the next iteration of the story will involve torture, incest, or some other escalation.
In any event, all stories agree on the outcome: the girl’s spirit still haunts the tunnel and is a match is lit off the tunnel wall around midnight, you can hear her scream. While this is more likely to be a late night train passing overhead, the legend has proven pervasive enough to completely rebrand the otherwise unremarkable tunnel in the popular conscience.
However, the history of death predates this urban myth. Several fatal accidents occurred during the construction and use of the tunnel and the railway running through it. In 1875, a fourteen-year-old was killed when he was crushed under a large rock. On January 3, 1903 at 7:03 AM, Engine Number 4 and Engine Number 975 met in a head-on collision approximately a third of a mile from the western entrance of the tunnel. The trains were moving at approximately 22 miles per hour when they crashed, and the firemen of both trains, Charles Harning of Engine Number 4 and Abraham Desult from Engine Number 975, died as a result of their injuries. In total, 107 men were killed during the construction of the tunnel and the canal in its surrounding area.
Another source of the hauntings could be desecrated graves at St. Peter’s Cemetery was which during the 1920s was flooded over to make way for a canal reservoir. Some families removed their beloved’s bones from the Lutheran burial ground before the flooding occurred but many graves remained. In 2009, a man found human remains in the area after water levels sank to a low level.
Source - Atlas Obscura
Marlene at Miami Ghost Chronicles is a freelance writer and paranormal researcher.
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